On July 8, 2019, Keith Burley, 47, and Maram Ford, the mother of 8-year-old Mark “Markie” Mason Jr., got into an argument and Burley assaulted her and bit her in the eye.
Burley then fled in Ford’s car while Markie and his younger brother were still inside the vehicle. He drove the boys to a Union Township home, where he stabbed Markie 146 times in front of his sibling, who later testified at Burley’s trial.
On Aug. 28, a jury took just 11 minutes to reach their verdict, according to New Castle News. Jurors found Burley guilty of both first- and second-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping with intent to inflict injury and one count of simple assault.
After the verdict was read, Markie’s father, Mark Mason Sr., reportedly tried to approach Burley, but he was restrained by police. Markie’s uncle, Abdou Saada, also leaped over a banister and tried to run toward Burley, but police were also able to hold him back, New Castle News reported.
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At his Sept. 19 sentencing hearing, Burley reportedly professed his love for Markie’s mom, called her husband a disparaging name and proclaimed his innocence, according to New Castle News.
During the hearing, the victim's mother addressed the courtroom. “I trusted you. My boys loved you," Ford told Burley. "I forgive you. I feel like God wants me to give you the same grace, for you to take accountability for your actions because believe me, God’s justice is way worse than this.”
Lawrence County President Judge Dominick Motto called the evidence of guilt "overwhelming" and sentenced Burley to two life sentences, New Castle News reported.
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